gluten-free Diet & Exercise in Sports and Fitness Posted June 22, 2013 · Report to Admin I tend to disagree that carbs are needed for distance events. Carbs can, I think, be beneficial for sprint-type activity, but for distance, your body needs to be burning fat for fuel, and I think that a load of carbs will simply delay the process by which your body starts to metabolize those fats. This has certainly been my experience in ten-to-twelve-plus mile obstacle course races (think Tough Mudder, the longer distance Spartan Race events, etc.) and also on some longer hikes (just this past weekend we hiked Humphreys Peak in Arizona -- ten mile round trip, 3300' altitude gain, topping out at 12,633'). The conventional wisdom is to carbo-load the few days prior to these events and to bring some form of carbohydrate-rich stuff to use during the event. I find I need none of that. I bring water, of course, and some salt/potassium packets along just in case of cramps (though I have not experienced cramps while running any of these events). Oh, I eat a low-carb, grain-free, mostly-paleo diet. Primarily meat, fish, birds, and lots of green, leafy vegetables. No potatoes or other starchy foods. I eat fruit only occasionally, and limit that to a handful of strawberries or blueberries (are those even fruit???). I do not change my diet prior to races/events, except possibly to eat a bit less the few days prior to help kick-start the fat burning. Prior to my celiac disease diagnosis in November of last year, I would eat very limited grains in the form of a terribly delicious, very unnatural, breaded and fried chicken patty several times per week (otherwise, I tried to eat well!). That was actually fortuitous in that the gluten was certainly doing its work on my small intestine and antibodies. I was either asymptomatic or experiencing not-normal celiac disease symptoms, and was undergoing endoscopy for another reason. Blessedly everything looked good except for signs of celiac disease in the small intestine (biopsies taken and confirmed for villous atrophy). Subsequent blood work confirmed the diagnosis. Of course, since diagnosis I have quit eating that delicious chicken patty, and learned to source my food much more carefully, and stopped eating out, and... I think everyone here knows the rest. All that written, I do not have experience in long bicycle rides, and perhaps there is a difference in nutritional needs? Anyway, my point is that I have experienced great results in mid-distance strength and endurance events while maintaining a limited carbohydrate diet (at my level of competition, which is very middle-of-the-pack to be sure). Best of luck!